Purdue, NSWC Crane developing energy storage degree program

August 8, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University is developing a program in energy storage technology in cooperation with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division, located at Crane, Ind.

Purdue and NSWC Crane expect the program eventually to lead to a master's degree in chemical engineering.

The development of electrical and chemical-based energy storage devices is a critical component of such modern technologies as electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, solar cells, wind turbines, and diesel and biodiesel generators.

"This new program will train leaders in a technology that is becoming increasingly important in our modern world," said Victor Lechtenberg, interim associate vice president for engagement. "That the first students are from NSWC Crane means this training will be in the hands of people able to develop the technology quickly and for the benefit of our country."

"Expanding the academic education of our talented work force is sure to enhance their ability to better serve our warfighters," said Kyle Werner, division manager for energy, power and interconnect technology at NSWC Crane. "Energy and power requirements on the battlefield continue to grow at near exponential rates. With NSWC Crane as the Department of Defense's largest collection of resources dedicated to electrochemical power sources, developing next generation energy storage solutions is critically important to our mission."

The program began in July with two intensive segments for 16 students at the Crane West Gate Research Park. The summer program is non-credit but will offer a certificate. This fall, the students will take their first credit course.

The courses will be taught through a combination of on-campus and online delivery. They will come from chemical, materials and industrial engineering.

"Through a selection of courses and research/design projects, students will learn fundamentals of both engineering and energy storage technologies," said James Caruthers, Reilly Professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the program. "This program is a clear demonstration of how two of Indiana's leading institutions can partner on a project to increase technical capabilities in the state to address opportunities in energy storage of defense and industrial importance."

The School of Chemical Engineering is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. "Initiating this program to serve our state and nation is an exciting way to commemorate our school's centennial," said Arvind Varma, R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and head of the school. "It also demonstrates Purdue's continuing commitment to its historic land grant mission."

The master's in chemical engineering program is expected to take three years to complete. The initial program will be developed for NSWC Crane's specifications. Other individuals or businesses will be able to participate in future offerings.

Writer:  Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu  

Sources:  Victor Lechtenberg, 765-494-9095, vll@purdue.edu

                  James Caruthers, 765-494-6625, Caruthers@purdue.edu

                  Kyle Werner, 812-854-6697, kyle.werner@navy.mil